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Abenaki museum celebrates native culture

EAST MONTPELIER - Vermont is a great place to visit for many different reasons - one being the scenic Green Mountains that are absolutely beautiful anytime of year. The Green Mountains are popular for skiing, hiking or just taking in the beauty while traveling our Vermont country roads.

Tourists come to Vermont by tour buses, cars, trucks, vans and jets to get a glimpse of the natural beauty. However, there is much more to Vermont then just the scenery. What many people do not know is that long ago Vermont was settled by the Abenaki Indians.

What even more people do not know is that Abenakis still live here today. Although much fewer in numbers due to disease, war, and more recently a state-run eugenics program in the early 1900s that tried to wipe out the native American population, the Abenaki's have survived.

Recently opened in East Montpelier (five miles from the Vermont State Capitol) is a Vermont Indian Museum dedicated to the Abenaki. The museum is housed inside the East Montpelier Sugarhouse. Owner Todd Hebert and business partner Shirly Hook Therrian are both Abenaki. You will learn the history of the Abenaki people - as well as various skills that were passed down - through the classroom that is open to the public. The museum is an important cultural center for Vermont history.

Also located above the museum is the museum gift shop where you will find the Red Fox Trading Post and Cry of the Eagle, two Abenaki businesses devoted to Native American arts and crafts. You will also find Abenaki-made crafts handmade by local artisans.

Learn more about the Abenaki by visiting the museum's web site at www.maplesugarhouse.net

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